West Ham United must box smart in discussions with Fabian Balbuena after the defender stated that he expects to sit down and discuss his future with David Moyes’ side in due course.
Speaking with Versus Radio, via quotes by La Lazio Siamo Noi, the centre-half admitted he envisages that he will hold clear the air talks with the London Stadium hierarchy in the coming weeks regarding his future in claret and blue.
Balbuena is currently due to be a free agent at the end of the season with his £40k-per-week contract due to expire this summer.
Balbuena has previously been touted for a return to South America, with Brazilian giants Flamengo seen as a potential destination for the 16-cap Paraguay international should he leave the Irons as a free-agent.
Italian Serie A side SS Lazio have also been mentioned over the past three years to have an interest in the £7m-rated enforcer. However, Balbuena denies ever having a formal offer to join the Rome outfit.
“Surely, [one of] these days, we will sit down with the management to talk about it [my future],” the defender said on Wednesday. “West Ham have an option for renewal.
“I have never received anything from Lazio. I only read the rumours on social media.”
Balbuena’s future will be a tricky case for West Ham to deal with, having seen the former Corinthians defender fall drastically down Moyes’ pecking order over the last few months.
After watching the first two games of the Premier League season from the bench, Balbuena started 12 of the following 13 but has not been seen on the pitch since a 2-2 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion on December 27.
Moyes has even opted to omit the 29-year-old from three of his following nine matchday squads since the Seagulls encounter, despite managers now being able to name nine substitutes – up from seven – for top-flight matches.
The reports claiming the Hammers were open to offers on Deadline Day also go to show where the club place Balbuena in the pecking order, but it will be worthwhile to act clever in discussions over his future and activate their option to extend the centre-back’s contract.
Doing so will allow West Ham to protect a base value for the summer transfer market when they can look to move the Paraguayan on again, rather than accept a total loss on the £6.5m Manuel Pellegrini signing.
The Irons are already expected to accept sizable hits on the fees Pellegrini and former Director of Football Mario Husillos paid for Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson, so will surely like to have an exit strategy in place for Balbuena that returns at least a few million pounds.
Given his current value of £7.2m as per Transfermarkt, the east London outfit should be able to recoup some of the money back in any future sale, which is why he must be handed that extension before the summer.